MONTREAL – Randy Carlyle may have tipped his hand in goal just a day prior to the Saturday night opener against the Montreal Canadiens.
"We'll go with the goaltender who's going to give us the best chance for success on that given night," said Carlyle.
And thus, 26-year-old Ben Scrivens will start in goal for the Leafs at the Bell Centre on opening night. The decision rests firmly with logic. While the organization is suitably interested in learning just what James Reimer's future may hold, there can be no denying which of the two goaltenders is in better position to help the Leafs presently.
Scrivens had won nine of last 11 starts with the Marlies – after backstopping the club to a Calder Cup Final last spring – and was noticeably the better goaltender during a hasty six-day training camp. In fairness to Reimer, the 24-year-old has not played a competitive NHL game since late March, a stretch of over 10 months. Rust was to be expected.
Arguably the top goaltender in the American Hockey League last season - he led the league with a 2.04 goals against average - Scrivens will attempt to translate such success to the National Hockey League level, beginning Saturday against the Canadiens. "You have to acknowledge that it's different," he said following the morning skate. "Saying that, you don't want to try and change your game. I know the things that made me successful at other levels. It's no different than going from college to professional hockey. It's not like you all of a sudden go 'Okay, I played college hockey this way, now I have to play pro hockey this way'."
What's at hand for Scrivens is an opportunity to wrestle early control of the starting job. Carlyle has indicated that he would be content to roll with one goaltender if said goaltender were to prove himself worthy. "I'm sure we're not going to use one of them for 48 games, but if one of them was to win, I would think that it would be very difficult for us to put the other one in," he said. "That's just the way it is."